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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Published 1916
Topics Silent, Drama

The Universal Film Manufacturing Company was not known in the silent era as premier producer of motion pictures.
Yet, in 1916 they produced a film that could not be made effectively without expensive special effects and special photography.
The novel had previously been made as short films in 1907 by Georges Méliès and in 1913 by French company ÃÂclair.)
Marshalling the expertise underwater experts Ernest and George Williamson, Universal financed the extensive production which would require location photography, large sets, exotic costumes, sailing ships, and a full-size navigable mock-up of the surfaced submarine Nautilus.

Run time 108 min
Producer Carl Laemmle, Stuart Paton
Production Company Universal Film Manufacturing Company
Audio/Visual silent with musical score, black & white
Contact Information


Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 19, 2006
Subject: Meanwhile, in India...
By 1916, Hollywood was in full swing enough to make a truly remarkable movie like this one. Not only does it feature the first underwater sequences ever shown in a feature film, but it has a compelling story (based on the Jules Verne novel and well-told), striking cinematography, and amazing special effects for its time. There was obviously a lot of effort and care put into this film, especially when you get to near the end and Captain Nemo begins telling his backstoryââthe film then switches to some elaborate and expensive scenes of Nemo's former life in India, including elaborate sets, exotically-costumed crowds, and battle sequences. This comes at the end of a movie featuring elaborate scenes of sea voyages, underwater photography, a submarine made for the film, and desert island survival sequences. The film holds up extremely well todayââit's one of the most exciting and entertaining early films I've seen. Only one moment will make you even think of snickering, and that's the scene with the giant octopus. The creature itself is silly-looking, but the fact that it was even attempted, and attempted underwater, way back in 1916 is nevertheless impressive. A 1916 Universal film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
Reviewer: Leo@Westwind Studios - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 15, 2006
Subject: We thought the music was bad too!
We're working on a new sound track for this movie, wanta help!

someone went to a lot of trouble to produce this "Adventure" petty forward thinking too! (like the Nature girl lost on the island great stuff!) We feel it deserves a new sound and some time!

Check on our progress!

Reviewer: robcat2075 - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2006
Subject: Fine movie - awful music
It's the sort of silent movie where they throw up a title every few minutes to tell you what is going to happen. About par for it's time.

But the music slapped onto it... I would hardly call it a "score", someone just dropped a needle on some orchestral recordings. They are obviously recent recordings; I don't seriously believe they are public domain.
Reviewer: GirdwoodTelevision - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 10, 2006
Subject: Get yer 615Meg MP4 here:
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